Tender HeartsHow can we avoid being spiritually stubborn and unresponsive to God?
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May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace (v.2).
Some people develop “catch phrases” that
crystallize what matters to them. A news anchor
ends every telecast with “And that’s the way it
was” to remind viewers that he delivers the important
facts of each day. A financial counselor on the radio
answers a listener’s question of “How are you?” with
“Better than I deserve”—focusing attention on the
unmerited grace of God.
The apostle Paul had his own signature phrase. Check
the opening verses of any of his letters and you’re sure
to read, “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
give you grace and peace” (Ephesians 1:2). There are
occasional variations—he adds “mercy” to “grace and
peace” when he’s cranking up a special greeting to his
beloved Timothy (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2)—but
this standard salutation is a reliable indicator that you’re
reading a letter from Paul.
The apostle often repeated this greeting because he
wanted us to savor each part of it. May God our Father:
The God of the universe is our daddy. He adopted us as
His children, and though our sin may lead us astray, He
eagerly runs to meet us whenever we turn toward home.
He is never happier than when we crawl onto His lap
and curl up in His strong arms of love.
And the Lord Jesus Christ: Our crucified Savior rose
as King of the world. We gladly bow and worship Him,
submitting every part of our lives to His reign as we wait for His glorious return.
Give you grace and peace: Our world grades every person and
performance, but God loves and accepts us just as we are. When we pass His
peace on to others, forgiving as we have been forgiven, we enjoy the flourishing
wholeness and delight of being God’s child.
Read Psalms 68:1 and consider how each element of Paul’s
signature greeting is rooted in the Old Testament.
Consider the integral relationship between the fatherhood of God, the
lordship of Christ, and grace and peace. How does each depend on
the other? Which do you need most to remember today?
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